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Sex offender’s home ownership doesn’t impact residency restriction

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A convicted sex offender who argued that a probation condition prohibiting him from living within 1,000 feet of a school is unduly restrictive on his property interest in a home he owns lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Mark Gaither committed child molesting in 1995 and 1996 but wasn’t convicted until August 2008. As part of his probation and parole, he isn’t allowed to live within 1,000 feet of school property. He owns a home in Muncie that is within 1,000 feet of a middle school, and he wants to live there. The statute requiring that sex offenders on probation/parole be prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school was enacted in 1999.

Gaither claims because he committed his offenses before the statutes were enacted, he isn’t subject to them and the residency restriction placed on him violates the ex post facto clause of the Indiana Constitution.

Even though his probation has since expired, the COA ruled on the case because of public importance.

Gaither tried to distinguish his case from Hevner v. State, 919 N.E.2d 109 (Ind. 2010), in which the Indiana justices ruled that Hevner, who had been convicted of a sex offense, was subject to conditions of probation, including living within 1,000 feet of a school. Gaither claimed that because he owned his home before he committed the child molesting, he should be allowed to stay in it.

The justices “made no distinction between ownership and mere residency, and the fact that an offender owns a home in which he is not allowed to reside during his term of probation or parole is immaterial in determining whether a condition of probation or parole is related to an offender’s rehabilitation, while protecting the public,” wrote Judge John Baker.

The appellate court ruled in Mark Gaither v. Indiana Dept. of Correction, et al.,18A02-1111-MI-1073, that Indiana courts have held that prohibiting a sex offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school as a condition of probation is reasonably related to the offender’s rehabilitation and is permissible.

 

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  • SOR
    I read and I have the article that states that the Indiana Supreme Court ruled unaniousmly the sex offender registration is punitive (puinishment) therefore it is doublr jeopardy!
  • Rehab
    If someone is convicted of possession of child porn but never did anything else or caused harm to a child or any other person in their 40+ years, what type of rehabiltation do they need? Should they have their eyes poked out?

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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